A big "thanks!" to Liz who let us know that J.Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler is scheduled to appear on CNBC this morning– on the "Squawk Box" at 8AM. After watching his segment, some highlights include:
- Brings right product to stores & are as creative as ever
- Have been respecting customers, differentiating from all the sameness, & producing products of up-most quality
- Always respecting customer on quality & value demands
- Their mission is value-style product
- Their model is why do you need all the middle people selling a great brand (so eliminate that & control own distribution)
- When Mickey took over (7 years ago), he fired 70% of their factories & searched for ones with best fabric, best quality, etc.
- Mickey believes they have (1) the right fashion, right now, (2) a good design team, & (3) the content of the stores consist of items of "what they are famous for"
- Constantly evaluate their assortment, in particular those predictable items that evolve (sharpen their edge) like the Minnie pant, cashmere sweaters, or jackets for Women and the Wash Shirts for Men
- There's a "J.Crew Look" which is a style with no logos
- Never want to compete on price & can't buy products on sale anywhere else
- Considers First Lady Michelle Obama wearing J.Crew clothes an "act of God" (then one of the hosts made an inappropriate "joke", which was *not* funny and flustered Mickey Drexler)
J.Crew Boosts Profit Outlook as Sales Improve
J.Crew raises 3rd-quarter guidance, upbeat about sales; shares jump to 52-week high
By Michelle Chapman
October 22, 2009
Shoppers still have an appetite for fashion during the recession, as evidenced by apparel retailer J.Crew Group Inc., a favorite of first lady Michelle Obama.
The chain significantly boosted its fiscal third-quarter profit forecast Thursday on better-than-expected sales and margins — two components most retailers have struggled with as consumers continue their discretionary spending clampdown.
The company, which has grown in popularity partly because Obama wears the chain's clothes, saw its stock soar $4.41, or 11.7 percent, to $42.15 in midday trading. The shares hit a fresh 52-week high of $42.94 earlier in the session.
J.Crew has been on a surge of late, with its stock up 37 percent over the past three months. The chain has managed well during the recession by keeping a close eye on its inventory levels while continuously rolling out products that appeal to its customers.
With higher sales and margins than anticipated for the third quarter, the retailer pushed its earnings guidance to a range of 54 cents to 59 cents per share. That's a marked improvement from the 30 cents to 33 cents per share forecast issued in August.
J.Crew expects the good times to roll into the fourth quarter, assuming sales and margin trends continue. The retailer now anticipates a mid- to high single-digit increase in sales at stores open at least a year and a low single-digit rise in direct sales for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 30. The company previously forecast a low single-digit increase in both sales at stores open at least a year and direct sales.
Sales at stores open at least a year are a key indicator of retailer performance since they measure growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.
Heading into the holiday season — a critical time for most retailers — BMO Capital Markets analyst John Morris is confident that J.Crew will fare well due to its inventory management efforts and favorable product mix. The analyst reaffirmed an "Outperform" rating in a note to clients, saying he has "great confidence in the company's growth potential."